Man of Steel.
If Lincoln, which I reviewed the other day, was a bloated blahfest, the latest instalment in the Superman series is just bloated where it might’ve been divided into two shorter films – Superman: The Early Years and Superman: The Drifter. But Man of Steel insisted on combining both, resulting in one of those films filled with pointless, self-indulgent scenes.
It starts with an attempted coup by General Zod whose name instantly informs the audience that this guy won’t be looking after orphaned puppies and kittens, and tending bonsai trees. The coup fails and Zod and his followers are exiled to the Phantom Zone, a punishment which doesn’t last because when Krypton is destroyed, the rebels are released.
Superman has also been sent to Earth where he has to cope with the development of his super powers until he can control them, but once he knows the truth, he becomes an itinerant employment statistic, bumping into Lois Lane when the US military discovers some spacecraft frozen in a glacier.
Although it may be 20,000 years later, General Zod hasn’t mellowed a bit. He wants Superman because he contains the genetic code for all Kryptonians, which can be used to resurrect the race. The US wants to hand Superman over, and being a nice boy, he agrees, but suspects that Zod might not be an alien of his word.
Indeed, the general is only marginally more trustworthy than a politician and he fires up his spaceships to turn the Earth inside out. Superman, though, escapes and thwarts Zod’s plans, which is then followed by a battle in which the winner is deemed to have caused more deaths and property damage than his opponent. Superman wins and gets to snog Lois Lane. “With all this destruction and all of these corpses, I’m so hot for you, baby,” she coos.
The final fight was unsubtle in comparison with the same conflict in the third film in which Superman tricked General Zod (or whatever the villain’s name was) into the Fortress of Solitude and stripped him of his super powers. In Man of Steel the fight was a colossal, brain-dead bar fight.
Man of Steel is another flabby Hollywood blockbuster which was probably designed with Third-World audiences in mind – lots of guns and ammo, and lots of explosions and catastrophic damage. Rating: NB (No Brainer).
I watched what appear to be the Chinese version of the film, although there couldn’t have been that many cuts since the whole thing was about 2 hours 20 minutes long. The only scene where something seemed to have been clumsily excised was when Superman went to chat to his local vicar. One moment he’s sitting on one of the pews, but the next he was walking out of the door.1
Olympus has Fallen.
The moment I started watching Olympus has Fallen I knew that this was a film somewhere to the right of Adolf Hitler (but still slightly left of Fox News).
It starts with an accident in which the president’s wife dies because the Secret Service can only save the president before his car plunges into the icy waters below.
Sometime later the South Korean PM is visiting Washington with a bunch of blokes who don’t look at all suspicious. A C130 gunship flies across Washington. Two US Air Force jets fly alongside just in the right place so that they can be shot down. The plane then shoots up the capital and the White House, heralding a ground assault on the building, which is then captured by the terrorists who want the US to pull its forces out of the Korean Peninsula. The cunning devils also want the self-destruct codes for America’s nuclear arsenal so that they can blow the lot up and turn the country into a wasteland.
Although Gerard Butler is no longer one of the president’s bodyguards, he drops by the White House, helps the president’s son to escape, whacks all the terrorists, and stops the ICBMs from being detonated.
Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves! they all sing at the end. The British flag rises over the White House and everyone salutes. [Are you sure about that? –ed.]
Verdict: a drinks coaster for people I don’t like.
- I’m sure that I saw an article somewhere about the Christian elements in Superman, and this film seemed to be no exception. Just as Brandon Routh did the crucifixion pose in the previous Superman film, so did Henry Cavill in this one. The scene in the church was a little weird since you’d think Superman would’ve turned to his mum for advice rather than some vicar.